Can I get a data plan for an iPhone I found?

Tony Bennett February 3, 2012

I found an iPhone and could not find the owner. I also contacted Apple and they wouldn’t do anything. Can I connect with AT&T or Verizon?

  1. The696
    June 20, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    I think if you factory restore the phone and tell your provider that you bought it online from some third party it will help your cause. That's what I did with mine, believe me when I say the last thing THEY want to do is return it to the owner. They sell more phones that way, that my friend is the beauty of this country. "wipe" the phone and if a swat team comes smashing through the window when you try to activate it... Just play dumb. -_-

  2. DreadHead
    April 20, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    if you lose something, what happens, you get a queezy feeling in your gut, why is that, you just lost a 700$ phone and there is a big chance that you will not get it back. i get queezy because i know what i'd do in this situation, i'd keep it. and the next time that person buys a nice new iphone, guess what, he or she wont lose it, ill garrantee you, and if he or she does lose it again, then they shall be slated as morons. finders keeper losers weepers, your talking about a perfect world where everyone does right not wrong, well guess what, this is earth, not K-Pax. you just made an expensive mistake, no better way of learning from mistakes then making mistakes lol. and i really dont care how dishonest this sounds, im an atheist and i know where im going for my sins, in the ground. karma only works on the guilty hahahaha

  3. Mike
    February 3, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Well, yes and no.

    If the iPhone is SIM-locked to anything but those two providers you won't be able to use it unless you unlock it.

    There is also the chance that the iPhone was reported lost/stolen and the IMEI is blocked at either provider.

    Having that said I still suggest to hand the iPhone over to the police. Depending on the law in your region not handing it in might be a legal delict. While trying to find the owner and contacting Apple is a good approach it really doesn't mean anything in a legal situation.

    Also unless the iPhone was registered to an Apple ID and reported lost/stolen Apple neither cares nor can do anything about it.

  4. Anonymous
    February 3, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    sure, go and ask them, you may not want to tell that you found it?
    prior may be you have to unlock iphone, then change data plan?
    now if you know the first data plan provider company, you can ask them if they can help you to find the real owner, if this is what you want to do.

    also if you search the  net perhaps you can find how to unlock the iphone prior to switch to another data plan.

    • Tonydbennett
      February 4, 2012 at 11:24 pm

      At least you answered my question. You also suggested that I contact the data plan provider to find the owner without being a jerk about it and making me feel like I committed the crime of the century. Thanks for your answer.

      • Anonymous
        February 5, 2012 at 8:03 am

        yap you are doing the right thing. Maybe inside the iphone there are some contacts that you can use to check if they know someone from their entourage lost iphone.

  5. Susendeep Dutta
    February 3, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    First of all,you must try to return the found iPhone to its owner as he might have waited for long hours or even for a day to purchase it from his hard earned cash.Although,neither the Apple store nor the carrier can do anything about it.

    But all you can do is returning the found iPhone by following the steps mentioned in the link below -

    You must inform your local police of this incidence and keep the iPhone switched on as the owner can track it by using Find my iPhone feature.

    • Tonydbennett
      February 3, 2012 at 9:52 pm

       Mr or Ms. Duh, I made an effort to return it. You honestly think that I'm going to spend hours of my time trying to hunt down someone who isnt responsible enough to hang onto a 500.00 piece of equipment? Secondly, I dont trust the local law enforcement here. And how do you even know if they spent thier "hard earned cash"? Maybe Mommy or Daddy bought it for their spoiled child. Maybe they will be a little more responsible now? You wasted your time, and you failed to even answer the question. Read a little more carefully next time. :^)  ,moron.

      • M.S. Smith
        February 4, 2012 at 2:54 am

        Actually, Tony, you should absolutely report the phone to law enforcement. If you keep this phone, and it is reported stolen by the owner, you could be in for some problems if it's found to be in your possession.

        You said you contacted Apple, but that's not a logical place to contact, since they are not the carrier. You should at least contact the carrier to report it lost to them. They are in a better position to find the owner.

        It kind of sounds to me like you're looking for a justification for keeping this lost phone. If's that so, fine. You should be able to connect it to AT&T or Verzion by visiting either carrier and signing up for a mobile plan (though if it is already registered with either, don't be surprised if the sales person takes the phone from you). 

        You should watch you tone, as well - Susendeep's answer was perfectly valid and you called him/her a moron. 

        I'm going to mark this as resolved. 

        • Tonydbennett
          February 4, 2012 at 10:59 pm

          Susendeep's answer was not valid and neither is yours moron #2. Both of youare answering a question that isn't being asked. Are you guys trying to play God.? Watch my tone? That is so funny, you sound like my 4th grade teacher. I think your'e jealous tha t I found it and not you.?

        • Maricelabalderas63
          February 27, 2012 at 5:42 pm

          To MS Smith, susendeep was right but didn't fully answer the questions. Tony did not call them a moron, u r just putting words in his mouth. I found an iPhone on a bench at the zoo one time and kept getting different answers n comments on it so after finding out that rhecowner was from out of town somewhere, I just got rid of the phone. I have heard that if the phone gas a similar card then u can flash it but I don't know if that's certain.

      • Tina
        February 4, 2012 at 5:59 pm


        I'm afraid I cannot answer your question either, instead  I have to make another appeal to your conscience.

        In most countries, you are required by law to bring valuable items you found to the Lost and Found office. The item will be kept there for a few months and if the original owner doesn't claim it, the finder gets to keep it. I know that this is how it works in Canada and Germany  and I'm sure it's the very same in the US. 

        So as Matt says, you could get into serious trouble if caught.

        • Tonydbennett
          February 4, 2012 at 11:18 pm

          Ms Tina, sorry appealing to my conscience failed. Is M. S. the Matt you are referring to? The photo looks like a women. You guys must know each other? Anyhow I've committed no crime, my gosh, you guys act like I committed murder! Go preach to the bad guys. I'm not a bad person, I'm just a guy who found a freekin phone. I guess because its a " iphone " is why you're making such a big deal. Have you ever found a quarter or a dollar bill on the ground,MS tina and MS smith? Did you hang up signs in the area, did you turn it in to the cop shop? I think I know the answer. Some one is the rightful owner. And if you have found ANYTHING and didnt do your best to return it, its no different than what I did. Get off your high horse.

        • Tina
          February 5, 2012 at 10:13 am


          Matt and I are Editors for MakeUseOf Answers, that's how we know each other.

          I herewith ask you to not make any further rude comments.

          As for the answer you think you know, you've got it all wrong. However, I am not going to continue this discussion with you. I see you have your mind made up and will keep the phone. Good luck! 

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